- NCC Hopeful on 30% Broadband Rollout
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed optimism on achieving the 30 per cent penetration in the country targeted by the National Broadband Plan.
Currently, experts say the country’s broadband penetration is largely driven by the availability and relative affordability of mobile phones while the fixed remains in limbo. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has put fixed broadband penetration in the country at a miserable 0.01 per cent, rubbishing the 21 per cent being celebrated in the country.
But the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of NCC, Prof Garba Dambatta, said the target remained a focal point for the regulator. He said: “Our target to achieve 30 per cent broadband rollout in the country by end of this year 2018 remains in focus.”
According to Dambatta, there is no doubt that ICT is pivotal to the growth and sustainability of macro-economic activities while stability and operational integrity as a growth vehicle are critical to success.
“Communications being the backbone on which that growth will leverage, the sector and its regulator have to lead in ways and means that will build the confidence needed to drive the volume of investment and capital that will be needed to not only ensure attainment, but sustain it.
“Communications have made great and impressive strides in our national economic landscape over the past 16 years, but given advances in communications innovations and their impact on the sector, the needs of society for communications have become more imperative than they were in 2001. The advent of broadband, LTE (long term evolution) and Internet of Things (IoT) have made the need for focused development more urgent than ever.
“Having noted that communication governance is international in scope and dimension and that the fund and capital for it are dynamic, it calls, therefore, for governance practices that are wholly in alignment to international benchmarks, in other words international best practices,” he said during his opening remarks at a sensitisation forum on corporate governance code in Kano at the weekend.
According to him, ICT sector is pivotal to the overall attainment of national developmental objectives, hence the need for the sector to lead in integrity, transparency, accountability and ethically, which are the values espoused and promoted by the principles of the code.
“In appreciation of the relevance of our sector to the attainment of those objectives, the regulator is committed to deliver regulatory excellence and facilitate operational efficiency, geared towards making the sector attractive to drive the level of investment and capital inflow needed.
“Current evaluation report of the state of the industry suggests that whilst not understating the impact of other external and fiscal issues confronting the sector, that most challenges negatively affecting the health of operators in the sector today are attributable to poor governance issues.
“The Commission is determined to provide needed regulatory interventions to ensure that the sector plays effectively the enabling role it is mandated to create by the Act, the NCA 2003. It is currently rejigging its regulatory oversights in the areas of ensuring that consumers get cost effective value for money spent on telecommunication services; and that service delivery by providers are qualitative and efficient.